Bigelow breaks out with kickoff return touchdown

After teasing Cal fans the first few times he touched the ball Saturday, freshman Brendan Bigelow went all in to begin the second half.

Bigelow, making his college debut after sitting out the Bears' first two games of the season, returned the second-half kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown during a 63-12 rout of Presbyterian College at AT&T Park.

Bigelow rushed for 15 yards on two carries and caught one pass for 11 yards in the first half. He added 23 yards on another kick return.

"I was a little nervous," said Bigelow, who missed his senior year at Central East High School-Fresno after injuring his right knee for a second time. "As the game went on, I got pretty comfortable. I was really happy to finally get to do something after not being able to play for about a year and a half. It's pretty special to really get out there and show what I can do a little bit."

Bigelow struggled during training camp, not only getting used to playing football again but also adjusting to playing with a knee brace. He looked destined to redshirt before he started to improve in practice during the past couple weeks.

Bigelow was a track star in high school and exhibited that superior speed on his kick return.

"He ran hard," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. "There were a lot of positives for him. The one he returned for a touchdown, I don't think he even got touched. Any time you don't touch someone with that kind of speed, you can predict the results."

Tedford said Bigelow will continue to return kicks but was noncommittal on how much he would play running back in the near-term.

  • Linebacker Mychal Kendricks didn't start after violating a team rule during the week. He came in on Cal's second defensive series.

  • Starting tailback Isi Sofele recorded his first 100-yard game, rushing for 105 yards on 17 carries.

  • Several Cal players made their college debuts Saturday, including No. 2 quarterback Allan Bridgford. He was 4-for-10 passing for 76 yards.

  • Backup tight end Spencer Hagan made his first career catch, a jumping 16-yard reception for a TD in the second quarter.

    -- Jonathan Okanes